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Last Updated Friday February 23 2018 06:16 AM IST

Will BDJS use Chengannur by-poll to settle scores with BJP?

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Will BDJS use Chengannur by-poll to settle scores with BJP? BDJS leader Thushar Vellappally and SNDP Yogam chairman Vellappally Natesan. File photo

Pathanamthitta: The Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), that has been crying hoarse over the treatment meted out by its NDA partner BJP, is eager to utilize the upcoming Chengannur Assembly by-election to demonstrate its strength.

Local leaders of the BDJS, political wing of the SNDP, want the party to go solo in the election, but the state leaders see the by-poll as an opportunity to bargain with the NDA.

The BDJS leaders say the NDA, after benefiting from the alliance with their party, have given it a curt treatment. They point out that the BJP, which secured barely 6,000 votes in the 2011 assembly elections, saw its tally going up sharply to over 42,000 votes in the 2016 polls. Though this was as a result of the BDJS votes, NDA did not give them due consideration, say BDJS local leaders. They want the party to detach itself from the NDA.

The SNDP has already expressed its support to the Left Front, but the state-level leaders of the BDJS are yet to reveal their stand. The BJP state leaders have, meanwhile, launched efforts to keep the BDJS in good humor. The NDA candidate for the by-poll could be either P S Sreedharan Pillai or Kummanam Rajasekharan.

The by-poll that was necessitated after the sudden demise of sitting CPM legislator K K Ramachandran Nair has thrown up a political challenge for the three political fronts in Kerala, as the by-election could prove to be a dress rehearsal for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Chengannur in Alappuzha district has traditionally been a Congress stronghold for several decades. But during the 2016 assembly polls it turned out to be an unexpected jolt for young popular Congress legislator P C Vishnunath, who was aiming for a hat-trick of victories but had to bite the dust against Nair, who won with a majority of over 7,000 votes.

Read more: Latest Kerala news | 50 dead, 104 missing: 2 months after Cyclone Ockhi, govt comes up with official figures

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